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Family Pet Animal Care - February 2015 - Gotta Love 'Em


Family Pet Animal Care - February 2015 - Gotta Love 'Em

by Dr. Michael Trapani

When people visit the veterinary hospital they tend to focus on the doctor, and I suppose that’s only natural. It’s easy to overlook the critically important support staff, people who work constantly and quietly in the background. The fact is, I can’t do a thing without ‘em.

My staff is awesome. They are always one step ahead of me and one step behind, both preparing the way for me to work and cleaning up the mess afterwards. They know me, and how I do things, and anticipate what I’ll do and what I’ll need, often better than I do myself. It’s difficult to describe how it feels to realize that I need something, and then look to find that it’s already there. To call them “awesome” doesn’t do them justice.

Barb, my fiancé and Office Manager, Bookkeeper, Receptionist, Girl Friday, and Partner-In-Crime handles phones and banks and questions and salespeople – and pretty much everything else. She somehow manages to keep her head from exploding when crazy Friday afternoon circumstances require her to juggle sixteen things at once (OK, her head HAS exploded a few times). It’s something I could never do. We’re short one employee right now and Barb is doing double duty. It’s impossible, obviously, yet she somehow manages to keep the office functioning smoothly, making sure every message gets answered and every critical patient gets care (even when she has to modify the structure of the universe itself by creating neo-time from dark energy). She’s not just awesome; she’s amazing.

Katie, my Veterinary Assistant, RVT-In-Training, and Laser Queen is the epitome of “reliable.” She never misses a day, and can always be relied upon to be “there” for my patients and me. When I prescribe a session of laser therapy, it’s Katie who carefully and consistently applies the joules, treatment after treatment, without ever missing a spot. The animals like her (and why not? Laser therapy feels great!), and my clients appreciate her compassionate handling of their pets. Katie also serves as our universal assistant, working directly with me in surgery, helping Barb in the office, assisting Howard with anesthesia patients, managing the medication inventory, or cleaning, or providing nursing care, or answering questions on the phone. She’s a specialist in general veterinary hospital services, which makes her invaluable. Oh, and at night, she goes to school and studies to become a REGISTERED Veterinary Technician. Katie rocks.

Howard is my Certified Veterinary Technician. This is a guy who literally runs from one task to the next. Howard is a top-of-the-heap veterinary professional, second only to the veterinarian, a licensee granted special privileges and responsibilities by law (much like an RVT), but there’s no job that he considers beneath him. Howard is a machine; he’s focused, pays attention to detail, and doesn’t stop working until his job is done right. He never cuts corners. He never chooses the easy route when the patient needs more. Howard takes pride in delivering highest quality veterinary care to his patients, and demands the best effort from everyone he works with, including me - and that’s OK. Best of all, Howard truly likes animals. He can’t help but speak baby talk to cats and nervous doggies. He’s a vegetarian and a gentle soul. I’m lucky to have him.

Dustin is our grunt. He’s a kid who works two afternoons a week in an era when high school kids don’t have or even seek jobs. He’s pretty special. Dustin is a quiet guy who mops and sweeps and scrubs poop off cage doors. He puts in an honest effort – even though it’s the first job he’s ever had - and makes a genuine contribution to the hospital. Dustin is not your average teenager. What other guy his age knows that Ben E. King co-wrote and performed “Stand By Me” in 1961? The kid has a future.

That’s my crew. Yeah, the doctor gets the glory, but my work simply isn’t possible without the support of these dedicated and hard-working people, who deserve every bit as much credit and appreciation for the success of our patients as I do. It takes a village, but more than that, it takes villagers. You gotta love ‘em. I do.